By Guy Rainey / October 31st, 2014
|Release Date||October 30th 2014|
|Platform||PC, PS4, 3DS, Vita, Mobile|
Woah Dave! is a new game for PC, mobile, 3DS, PS4, and Vita. It comes to us from Choice Provisions, formerly Gaijin Games, creators of the Bit.Trip series. Their pedigree is certainly impressive. The Bit.Trip games were some of the best games available on the limited WiiWare service. So how does Woah Dave! compare? Let’s take a look.
The story is pretty basic at best. You are Dave, and you are trying to survive an alien invasion. As an excuse for this guy to be bombarded by strange creatures, and as an explanation of why the mechanics are the way they are, it’s okay. But unless Dave is really just insane and he’s actually slaughtering people as hinted at by the ‘game over’ screen, there’s really not much here. I mean, that’s assuming that I understand the ‘game over’ screen correctly. It would have been just fine to skip it altogether since that’s not what we’re here for.
The gameplay is really simple. Eggs and exploding skulls fall from the sky. You either destroy them by throwing an exploding skull (which will kill you if you hold it for too long) or let them hatch into enemies. These enemies can be killed with other eggs (so long as they don’t hatch while you hold them) or the exploding skulls. If you kill them, they’ll drop a penny. If you let them hit the lava, they’ll turn into a faster enemy that will drop two pennies. If they hit the lava once more, they’ll lose some speed, but gain the ability to jump and upgrade to three pennies. One more dunk into the lava, and they die permanently (and drop no pennies). There’s an occasional flying enemy too.
That Woah Block (blocks that kill every enemy on screen) really cements it: this is basically Mario Bros. And I have no problem with that. Mario Bros. may not be as remembered as Super Mario Bros., but it is a simple, fun arcade game. And so is Woah Dave!. The game is simple enough to be easy to pick up and play, and interesting enough to try just one more time. It works great in a handheld format, whether that’s 3DS or Vita (it’s on mobile too, but your mileage may vary with onscreen controls). PS4 and Steam have a competitive mode that I sadly didn’t get to try out. It looks interesting though. Each player controls a Dave and competes to kill enemies and collect pennies. Not a bad idea. I wish I could have tried it out.
The game is very challenging, even on normal difficulty (there’s an insane difficulty setting if you can get 150 pennies without dying in a stage). There are achievements in there, but most of them actually feel like achieving something, and not some metric for figuring out exactly what you did. I still haven’t gotten the achievement for collecting 100 pennies yet, and the 400 pennies achievement seems very far away indeed. There are also leaderboards. I played on 3DS, and on that system, the leaderboards aren’t online so far as I can tell. But every other system seems to have online leaderboards, so that’s even more reason to keep honing your skills.
The presentation is solid. The graphics are fine. The retro pixilated look works well enough, and the fast-paced action is nice and smooth. It’s nothing too spectacular, but a fast moving game is better than a slow, graphically impressive one. The music is really nice though. The theme changes and evolves as you progress, meaning you may never get tired of it. The only thing I find iffy is a bug; at least, I think it’s a bug. When you lose all your lives, any coins you left on the field stay there. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not. Either way, there’s no way a lot of coins will be there when you start. It’s harmless, but it is a bit weird.
So all in all, I really like Woah Dave!. It’s nice and small (62 blocks on 3DS), so it won’t be clogging up space. And it’s something that I can easily see myself pulling out and playing when I have a spare moment. For $4.99 with infinite replay value, I’d say go for it. It isn’t revolutionary, but it is a lot of fun.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Review is based on the 3DS version of the game.
Choice ProvisionsGaijin GamesWoah Dave